Custom fitted wig enhances self-esteem breast cancer survivor

A breast cancer survivor’s spirit was recently uplifted when her hair loss was temporarily remedied.

Renee White, a University Heights woman diagnosed with breast cancer in September 2014, said she was better able to cope with her hair loss from chemotherapy when she was introduced to a hair prosthesis, a custom-made wig that can is created specifically to match the type of hair and hairstyle a person once had.

White, who works for a Manhattan corporate law office and is often the first person people see when they visit the firm, was concerned about awkward conversations or simply shock that some people may have about seeing her hairless, she said.

“I work for a very high profile law firm in the city,” she explained, adding that having a custom wig that looked so close to her own hair has softened the impact that many people feel when they learn in a business setting about the cancer.

When her hair first began to fall out about a month after her first chemotherapy treatment, she tried a number of ready-made wigs that did not come close to matching either the texture or the look of her own hair, White said.

In her particular case, she turned to an Ardsley, NY-based company called Unique Hair Concepts, which offers custom made wigs for people effected by hair loss related to illness.

The company is one of several to offer this service in the metropolitan area.

The company’s owner, Flora Fuentes, grew up in and lived in the Bronx until recently, first in the Grand Concourse area and later in Riverdale, she said. Fuentes has been a hair loss professional for over 20 years, she added.

“My passion has always been to help women with hair loss,” said Fuentes.

“I designed for (Renee) a custom prosthesis wig,” Fuentes said. “It is wig designed for someone going through medical hair loss.”

The wigs she typically constructs feel more like a silk-stocking than the sometimes coarse, machine made wigs that are more commonly found at wig stores, she said. They use natural hair, she added.

“A woman like Renee who is wearing this custom fitted wig, can move her head, or exercise if she wants, because it fits her head perfectly,” said Fuentes, who also said that these wigs allow the wearer to keep using it even as treatment ends and the natural hair grows back.

Williams had to endure not only hair loss, but also a mastectomy on her left breast. But she has now has recently returned to work.

She is grateful for the wig that enhanced her self-esteem while she was undergoing intensive chemotherapy.

“I was extremely pleased with it; it made a major difference in my self-esteem at that point,” she said. “It made me feel better and prettier.”

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.

More from Around NYC